Reimagine Aging News: September 2015

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

The 2015 Key Community Partner Awards Luncheon will be held October 23.

Join us to celebrate and support Senior Community Service's vital mission to help older adults and caregivers maintain independence.

Know someone with home maintenance needs? 
 

Chore services may be purchased through Senior Community Services' 

HOME store.

A Senior-Friendly Workplace Makes Sense

At a Labor Day gathering, I was talking to a business professional who related his experience in hiring older adults. He was very direct: "They show up on time, they have a solid work ethic, and they bring customer service skills with them so they need minimal training."  That's a strong testimonial, and one worthy of a generation of older adults who understand the importance of hard work. Many grew up during the Depression or World War II and experienced deprivation and struggle. They quickly learned that the secret to keeping a job is giving your best.
 
Seniors offer a lifetime of skills and experience to the workplace, and are self-motivated with little need for constant supervision. As our society increasingly grows older, due to the massive baby boom generation, organizations will increasingly see more seniors seeking employment
 
As employers, we can certainly benefit from their maturity and experience, even if a little accommodation is necessary. We need to be flexible and respect their desire to limit hours of employment. We should accommodate their medical visits and requests for time off to attend a grandchild's school event or recital. Doing so can boost employee loyalty and retention among older adults.
 
We recognize some seniors may have physical limitations and less stamina, so a reexamination of working conditions may be helpful. If an older adult must stand for long periods of time, a rubber floor mat or placement of a chair/stool at their work location can help them to stay energized for their shift. For computer staff, consider adaptive technology if needed. Screen magnifiers or larger mouse cursors can be very helpful for seniors with aging eyes.
 
Seniors can become great examples and mentors for younger workers. And be sure to include older adult workers in employee-recognition programs; everyone loves to be showcased and applauded for their job performance.
 
Sadly, many seniors think they are unwanted by employers, and feel marginalized by the workplace. We employers need to include language in advertising messages indicating a willingness and desire to hire workers of all ages. Facilitate an atmosphere of respect by enforcing and communicating a policy requiring all employees to treat their fellow workers with courtesy and respect. This can have a strong impact on increasing productivity and job satisfaction, while reducing turnover.
 
We should make work assignments based on skills, abilities and the needs of the organization, without regard to the age of employees. Carefully measure job performance of workers so you can identify areas where more training could boost productivity.
 
Finally, it makes sense to listen to older adult employees. They may have a larger 'big picture' on life that could bring insight and fresh ideas to your business goals. Many studies show that creativity increases as we age.
 
Imagine the value of tapping into this brain-trust of older adults to benefit our entire community. It's a great way to fight ageism and Reimagine Aging, so we can proudly proclaim our organizations to be senior-friendly workplaces.  

Sincerely,

Deb Taylor
Chief Executive Officer 

CEO Deb Taylor’s monthly column, which is published in many Minnesota newspapers, focuses on how we can Reimagine Aging to better serve seniors and their caregivers. The most recent newspaper column is available here.

If you know of a caregiver or older adult who would benefit from Senior Community Services' many supportive programs and services, please encourage them to contact us. They can stay connected with us by doing three things: 'LIKE' us on FACEBOOK, 'FOLLOW' us on TWITTER, and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter here.

"I hope everyone appreciates what a wonderful place the senior center is for meeting people and enjoying their company. For me, it's my home away from home."

- Ardis Schommer

Senior Centers Enrich Lives

When Ardis Schommer and her husband, Valentine (Val), moved to Minnesota from Texas to be closer to family, they found their local senior center to be a real blessing. The center helped them to meet people and make new friends. Val jumped right in, playing bingo, cribbage and cards. He encouraged Val to get involved, to get her out of the house, so she attended the writers group, and tried crocheting and knitting, too. "The director and volunteers introduced me around and explained all the activities," Ardis explains. "They always have a smile and make me feel so welcome."  

After Val died in 2001, Ardis realized how important the senior center had become in her life. "Had it not been for the center, I don't know what I would have done. I even started playing cards, which I'd never tried before. Even if I'm not good at the game, everyone makes me feel welcome and we have a good time." 
 
Ardis still attends the writers group, plays dominoes, utilizes the library, and tries to have lunch at the center a few times each week. "I hope everyone appreciates what a wonderful place the senior center is for meeting people and enjoying their company. For me, it's my home away from home."
 
Last year, 1,480 volunteers devoted 78,502 hours enriching the lives of older adults at senior centers in Delano, Minnetonka, Monticello, Mound, Plymouth, St. Michael, and Wayzata. For more information, please visit www.seniorcommunity.org.


"Home is Where the Heart Is"


- Tom Busch

Edina resident Tom Busch loves Senior Community Services. "The staff is patient, sensitive to aging issues, respectful, comforting and reassuring. And the work is done well by quality, kind people." 
 
After Tom's father passed in 1988, his mother Dorothy considered downsizing from the long-time family home to a condo, but nothing measured up. "She loved her home and all the neighborhood connections, so we decided she would stay in her home," Tom explained.

There were struggles, heart, hip and eye surgeries, but Dorothy persevered with Tom's help. When Dorothy needed maintenance help with plumbing and electrical issues, they utilized Senior Community Services' Household and Outside Maintenance for the Elderly (HOME) program. "It was comforting and reassuring to know things would get done, because I was still working at the time. The workers were respectful and kind, almost like having a friend come to your house. And the work was completed by quality people," Tom said. "The organization upholds these values to the finest level."
 
After Dorothy passed four years ago, Tom continued using the HOME program for lawn mowing and snow removal, and he decided to become a volunteer.  He currently serves on the Communications Committee, helping to guide the respected organization that helped his dear mother maintain independence until age 92.
 
"Home is where the heart is, and the elderly have helped build our community, so they deserve the best. Senior Community Services's mission to Reimagine Aging is so positive and really strikes a chord with people. I'm honored to support them."
 
Senior Community Services relies upon community generosity to sustain our mission.  Please consider a financial gift today and help make life healthier, more engaging and vital for those older adults in our lives.
 
Senior Community Services relies upon community generosity to sustain our mission.  Please consider a financial gift today and help make life healthier, more engaging and vital for those older adults in our lives.


Thank you for making a difference in the lives of seniors.
 

Honor a friend or loved one with a tax-deductible gift to Senior Community Services.Your gift of $35, $60, $150 or an amount of your choosing will make life better for low-income seniors who need help maintaining independence.

You may give securely online at www.seniorcommunity.org and click on Support.
 
Checks may be mailed to: 
Senior Community Services
Attn: Development 

10201 Wayzata Blvd. Suite 335
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Stay Connected With CareNextion


Are you caring for an aging loved one? Stay connected to caregiving from anywhere with www.carenextion.org. This free and secure online tool strengthens support networks through centralized coordination of care, task assignment and journaling.

You can also access helpful resources. Visit www.carenextion.org for more information or to speak with a staff person call 612-770-7005.

The Reimagine Aging Institute is the public awareness arm of Senior Community Services as we reach out to the community via the news media.  Through the Institute, we illuminate aging issues of broad relevance for seniors, their families, and Minnesota communities.

Visit the Institute's web page here.  And be sure to watch for media stories of interest to families with older loved ones and friends.

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